If you are worried about heating costs this winter as fuel prices rapidly rise, or if your house is less than energy efficient, there are steps you can take to reduce your heating costs whilst still making sure you are warm for the winter
So if you are in this situation then follow my tips (borne out of experience) when the heating broke down once and we couldn't afford to replace the boiler.
First tip is to "Keep Positive" - You may be finding it hard to keep positive when the house is cold and if you are struggling to even heat enough water for a bath, but above all stay positive - spring and warmer weather is just around the corner and it is important that you maintain a positive frame of mind.
Batten Down The Hatches
Keep windows as tightly shut as possible, if you notice any leaks or draughts roll up a towel and stuff it against the holes.
Check around the door frame and under the door for draughts. You can buy weather stripping or a door sweep to help seal in some warmth.
If you are on a very tight budget, get as many thick towels as you can buy or borrow, Stuff the towels under your doors to stop draughts.
Retire to One Room
If the weather has taken a real turn for the worst the best thing you can do is pack up your essentials and move into one room (if possible the smallest room in the house). Cuddle up with another person if you can under a big duvet. Body heat is a the most effective way to keep warm and in situations like this everyone needs a hug
Close off all unused rooms .The closed door makes that room another barrier between you and the cold outdoors. It also stops air from circulating as much, which reduces heat loss.
Hang a Heavy Set Of Curtains
A set of heavy curtains will help block drafts from the windows.
If you are working without much disposable cash have a look in second hand stores to see if you can get some for a reasonable price. I found second hand stores an absolute lifesaver when I was really skint. You are also donating to a good cause which means it's a winner all round.
Open your curtains when the sun is shining and close them before it starts to get dark, this will trap the heat in.
Get Rugs (Or Carpets) Laid
If you have draughty floorboards and cannot afford to carpet the best thing you can do is to lay down the biggest rugs you can find.
Ask friends and family to keep an eye out for things they might see or hear about. You will be surprised at the amount of things people will give you if you are having hard times. Just be sure to repay the favor when you can.
Twenty minutes of vigorous exercise will warm you up and keep you warm well after the exercise session.
Exercise will strengthen your body as well as boosting your well-being.
A healthy body fights illnesses better and you need that strength to survive when you are living in a cold climate.
You might know someone who wants to get fit so why not join up and workout together?
You are much more likely to stick to an exercise program if you have someone there encouraging you along.
Moving around produces body heat so kill two birds with one stone by making housework a workout.
Dusting, polishing, washing and mopping can be very physical if you put some real effort into it so make it as fun as possible by whacking on your favorite tunes and dance as you dust. The more you move the better your blood circulation will be and you get fitter to boot, what’s not to love?
Put On The Layers
A warm and woolly hat is your secret weapon in the fight against cold. You lose a lot of your body heat through your head, therefore it is crucial to keep your head covered when in very cold climates.
Dress in layers, especially with wool or cotton clothing. Air gets trapped between the layers keeping you toasty warm.
Wear slippers or warm socks (totes toasties are lovely) or try big men’s socks, Wearing leggings under pajama pants will always keep you warm. You can also try tucking leggings into huge socks to keep the cold air out.
Wear big, warm, woolly winter jumpers to add to the layers.
If you still have cold legs then consider wearing tights (fellers, swallow your pride!) you can buy a 2 pack of black tights from your local shop. Ensure they are as opaque as possible.
Wear one or more pairs over each other under your clothes, this will provide your body with another layer of clothing to trap warm air in.
Have a Big Bake Off
Bake a cake or a pie for tea, the kitchen will be warm while you are cooking and when you have finished leave the oven door open when you switch it off.
The hot air will circulate through your house and it will smell amazing, you get a rather lovely treat out of it too.
Do the same for Sunday dinner, or cook lots of stews and warming food so the food itself will warm you as well as the cooking process
Get Out of The House
It sounds daft to venture out into the cold, but long walks will warm you up and get the circulation going (remember to wrap up warm), and whilst you are out and about you are not heating the house.
If you have the sort of job where you work from home a lot, then see if you can work from the office - that way your employer is paying for the heating, not you.
Prepare For The Winter
Start saving as much as you can if you need money to pay for your heating or fix your boiler
Repair really important things such as a broken boiler. It needs to be fixed a.s.a.p and you will also find that a new boiler is much more efficient than your clapped out old one and could well save you money
Try and make your house as energy efficient as possible by getting wall and loft insulation so you don't lose heat and bring down your heating bills. If you think this is going to be expensive then check out any grants that are available to you in your country or state - you may be surprised at what is available to you
Preparing for the winter is all about making sensible financial decisions based on what you can afford and what you are likely to save by your action - so consider all your options and do what you need to do for your family.